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Dogs: Attention and Approval is the key to their evolutionary success as a species


I spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about how to make people truly understand why teaching dogs to behave according to our expectations cannot be achieved by coercion and punishment.

There is plenty of information available that tells us that punishment and coercion is an inefficient teaching tool for dogs.

Punishment scares , intimidates, pays attention to events that are better ignored, and lastly  really doesn’t tell the dog what it is you want him to do instead.

There is science that supports these statements. Science tells us that events that earn rewards increase in frequency.

But there has to be a better, a more intuitive and natural way to explain this.


As many trainers have already pointed out: positive methods certainly are not free of disappointments for the dog.

Ignoring an initiative is not physically painful but there is a huge emotional impact.

Just think about it: You are rushing home to tell your partner that you just had a wonderful idea, or you discovered something special and you are filled with joy and excitement.

Then you finally have the opportunity to share your excitement. But you take one look at your partner who is completely immersed and preoccupied with something else and cannot be bothered to look up.

How quickly your mood crashes!

Technically your partner has done nothing but not dignified you with the attention you were craving at that moment.


Dogs are so successful as a species because of their adaptive capacity to please us. Their evolutionary success is a direct result of their ability to please humans.


By actively showing them what pleases us we simply allow them to do what they do best As a result they offer those behaviors voluntarily. The pleasure is mutual.


By helping them out and explaining to them how they can be utterly pleasing to us we are simply playing into their genetic predisposition, their endless readiness to endear themselves to us humans.

  1. How adorable! Such manners for Nono and Sia. Very creative on the adults end.

    Comment by karen on June 10, 2011 at 10:42 pm
  2. That is totally hilarious! Great job and really fun to watch!

    Comment by Fran on June 10, 2011 at 10:59 pm
  3. Actually my friend and website designer Kendra Dixson was the person who sent me the video. So 99% of the credit goes to her!

    Comment by Elisabeth on June 11, 2011 at 7:55 am
  4. Hee hee, well a good friend of mine forwarded it to me so the list goes on. I think it is so cute and I’m amazed at how well the dogs are behaved, although you do see a little help from the human hands so they don’t dive their noses into their dish. lol

    Comment by Kendra Dixson on June 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm
  5. yes the dogs are great! I also liked HOW they helped the dogs by pretending it was a human “putting your chin in your hands” gesture. It is most entertaining.

    Comment by Elisabeth Weiss on June 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm